Saints Mock Draft — Round 1

On Saturday the New Orleans Saints will finally be on the clock for the 2008 NFL Draft. Who will they select at No. 10? Today, Matthew Postins unveils his first-round selection for the Saints, 24 hours before the Saints will make their own. Find out who — and why — in this exclusive article.

First round — No. 10 overall

LB Keith Rivers, USC

First Mock Draft selection: CB Mike Jenkins, South Florida

Second Mock Draft selection: Rivers

Why?: I see no reason to mess with perfection at this point, and I think Rivers is the perfect player at that selection. The Saints addressed both linebacker and cornerback this offseason. At linebacker, they traded for Jonathan Vilma and signed Dan Morgan to a two-year contract. At cornerback, they signed Randall Gay and Aaron Glenn.

Here's the reason I think you talk Rivers here instead of, say Leodis McKelvin. I believe Rivers is going to be a starter in the NFL for the next 10 years. He can play all three linebackers positions. He's great against the run and he's above-average in coverage. He loves to hit and he played in one of the best defensive systems in college football. There are few, if any, deficiencies in Rivers' game. He would come into a position group that needs some youth right now and become the fourth linebacker. He can offer protection on the weak side if Morgan, projected as the starter, becomes hurt. By 2009, he would earn a starting job.

How would you like to see Vilma and Rivers playing side-by-side for the next 5-7 years? It could be the days of Pat Swilling and Rickey Jackson all over again.

McKelvin, to me, has potential to fall below expectations. With Rivers, I think you're going to get 140 tackles a year and multiple Pro Bowl berths.

Alternate theory: Certainly, cornerback is the other popular selection and the two players most mock drafts center on are McKelvin Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. McKelvin would be a great pick for a team that also needs return help, but the Saints have Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker. Rodgers-Cromartie, to me, is a bit overvalued right now. I think he's getting a boost from the reputation of his cousin, Antonio, who is coming off a huge season for San Diego. I wouldn't want to reach on this guy if I were the Saints.

The Saints have met with both USC's Sedrick Ellis and Ohio State's Vernon Gholston, players that could help their defensive front. But they'll likely be gone at No. 10. LSU DT Glenn Dorsey should be gone too, but if for some reason he drops I think the Saints will pull the trigger.

Now that RB Deuce McAllister is set to come back for 2008, I don't expect the Saints to address any offensive needs until the third round at least.

Did you miss his previous selections? Access the other rounds right here:

Round 2.

Round 3.

Round 5.

Round 6.

Round 7.

Matthew Postins is the publisher of He is an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association.

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